Photography Lighting is supported by readers. When you buy with our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more

This post was most recently updated on June 26th, 2022

If you’re becoming a professional photographer, and your goal is to make a living out of your photography, making it your full-time job and main source of income, then the best course of action is to start up your very own photography studio. 

As a creative business idea, photography studios take a lot of planning beforehand, as they can be a big risk if you don’t do things right.

A successful photography studio requires talent and skill, as well as good planning and management skills, the right equipment and gear, marketing, and maybe even employees or connections. 

Cost To Start A Photography Studio

But also, you can’t expect to be earning a big amount of money right from the start, as it takes a while for photography studios and businesses to take off.

You need to get a solid base of clients, build up a reputation, and establish yourself within the photography industry. This can take time. And in the meanwhile, the studio will be costing money.

So basically, starting a photography studio is going to be an investment. It will cost you money, to begin with, and once it gets into the flow of business, you will make that money back, and start earning a profit. 

But how much does it cost to start a photography studio? This is an important question to tackle, as not everyone has the same budget, or the same amount of funds to begin with. 

Not to worry, to help you out, we’re going to break down all of the main costs of starting a photography studio, so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. 

Sounds good? Then let’s get started! 

List Of Costs When Starting A Photography Studio 

To break down the costs of starting your own photography studio, we need to consider all of the different expenses of running your photography, and making the studio a possibility. 

Here are the main costs that you need to consider: 

Photography Gear

You can’t start a photography studio without the gear necessary to take photos, after all, taking photos is kind of the main thing, right? So the first cost you need to consider is that of buying all of the professional gear. 

Now, you don’t need to go all out right from the start, you can get better gear over time, and build up your collection. When starting out, you just need the essentials. 

Here are the main photography gear costs to take into account: 

  • A professional and high-quality camera (between $1000 to $3000)
  • A selection of different lenses for your camera (over $1000)
  • Lighting equipment (between $300 to $1000) 
  • Backdrops for the studio background
  • Tripods and stands 

The Studio

If you want to start up a photography studio, then taking photos isn’t enough, you need the studio part.

If you’re lucky enough to have an indoor space in which to set up your studio for free, then you’ll be avoiding a big bulk of the initial expense.

Start A Photography Studio

If you are forced to rent out a space, then you will have to take that cost into account, as depending on the location it can get pretty expensive. 

Tax, Paperwork And Insurance

When starting up a photography studio business, you need to take into account the payable tax, as well as the cost of paperwork such as official licenses and similar.

You will also need to consider getting insurance, which we absolutely recommend to all professional photographers. 

Photography equipment is very expensive, and if anything happens, it can be an absolute lifesaver to have the appropriate insurance that covers the possible losses. 

An Official Website

In order to offer and manage your photography studio services, you’re going to need a well-built website as a business platform. Creating a good website might mean hiring a specialist, not to mention that there is a cost involved with buying a domain and keeping the website up and running. 

Marketing

Once you create your photography studio, you have to get clients in, so that your business can get into the flow of things and you can start earning some money, to make back the initial investment and, hopefully, make a profit.

But clients don’t come by themselves (unless you’re very lucky). 

You will have to invest in different marketing tools and strategies, such as online advertising, campaigns, promotional videos, and more. 

Editing Tools And Photo Storage

Most professional photographers will edit and retouch a selection of photographs after the session, and these edited photos will be the end result delivered to the client.

In order to do this well, you will need to make use of professional editing tools such as Photoshop and similar, which require you to pay for a license or for access to these platforms and services. 

You will also need to consider the cost of getting sufficient storage for all the photos that you take. As a photographer, you will be taking thousands of photos and will need to store them for quite some time.

Not only until they can be edited and delivered to the customer, but until the customer has paid and is satisfied, with no danger of you needing those photos ever again. 

Employees

When you first start out, you shouldn’t really need to employ anybody to help out with your photography studio, especially as it can be a big added cost.

However, if you do need assistants, finance managers, or other kinds of staff in your studio, then this is a big expense to consider beforehand. 

Other Costs

There are plenty of other costs that might come up during the process of starting out with your photography studio, and you should always have a small margin within the budget to deal with unexpected expenses and problems that might arise. 

The Average Cost Of Starting Up A Photography Studio

There isn’t really an exact average cost for when someone starts up a photography studio, because there are far too many variables that completely depend on the person’s situation, location, circumstance, and the resources that they already have available to them. 

Some people will have to rent out a studio, while others will have a space they can use, free of charge.

Some will have big budgets, others small ones, some will be able to create their own website, while others will have to hire a professional. It truly does depend on many things. 

However, there is a constant that remains the same for all photographers looking to start up a studio, and that is the cost of the essential gear needed. And as we already went through, a high-quality camera, with a lens or two, a tripod, and a simple lighting setup, will already cost you a few thousand dollars. 

So basically, the average cost of starting up a photography studio can vary from person to person according to what they have available to them, and what kind of studio they are starting up.

But the one constant is that a photography studio will cost you a minimum of a few couple thousand dollars. Aka, it isn’t cheap, and you definitely need to have some money saved up for it!